Health should come first

Under the leadership of the last administration, we took steps to fight pollution and climate change. One of the most important strides was better vehicle fuel efficiency. This is incredibly important, because 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicles, with every gallon of gas burned adding 20 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere. Additionally, in the process of negotiating a rescue of the car companies from the great recession an agreement was struck to increase fuel efficiency. The car companies agreed to this then, but now that they are financially viable again, they want out of the deal.

And Trump, the EPA and Department of Transportation want to erase these gains by rolling back the reasonable and attainable fuel efficiency and emissions standards set in 2012. I urge the acting EPA administrator, coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, to put our health before profits and cancel the rollback of these totally achievable vehicle emissions standards. I also encourage my fellow citizens to join me in telling Wheeler and Chao and their own senators and representatives to stop the cynical and unnecessary rollbacks.

More fuel-efficient cars will make our economy stronger, our air cleaner, save us gas money and create new jobs as U.S. car manufacturers take the lead in fuel efficient vehicles.

Right now, on the heels of Scott Pruitt’s welcomed resignation, it’s crucial that his replacement prove that he’s up for the task of actually protecting Americans and the environment. Not rolling back the vehicle standards would be a start. We deserve and, in fact, demand that our EPA prioritize the health of New England residents. We will not sit idly if acting EPA Administrator Wheeler continues to advance the polluter agenda.